It is the peak of the Nordic holiday season. The office is empty, restaurants are empty, the whole city is empty. I love it! It is the best time of the year to be in Stockholm. There is no traffic and terraces have space. The only place with some noise and racket was the Tele 2 football arena. M, our loyal football fan, noticed that the Swedish league, Allsvenskan, has started again. Good that we didn’t have to go a day without football (yes, that was sarcasm). At least the game was followed by good wine. Continue reading “Wineweek 87: Stockholm Calming Down”
When asked which cava was the best I tasted all week, I don’t know what to answer. Ramon, the owner of Jaume Giró i Giró cavas phrased it in a good way: can you really say which one of your children you love the most? I only have one, but I can see his point. During the week in Spain, we tasted perhaps around 50 different cavas, so instead of announcing a winner I thought I would mention a few new acquaintances that stood out.
1. Torelló Rose Brut Reserva. This cava is a blend of Garnacha and Pinot Noir. It is a Catalan style Rose: deep in color and rich with taste. Taste is full with red berries. The Cava is not sweet at all. One of the best rose Cavas I have tasted.
2. Juve y Camps 100% Xarello Essential. I am sure that it has become clear that I am a fan of the Xarello grape. It gives a full bodied and aromatic cava with citrus fruits and mineral freshness. A perfect companion on a hot day.
3. Jaume Giró i Giró Montaner Gran Reserva. The Montaner is a blend of the cava trio: Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada, and Chardonnay. The nose has nice aromas of peach and honey melon. The taste has light acidity with hints of brioche and a nice creamy mouthfeel. Truly a stunning cava!
4. Mestres Visol 2007 Brut Nature. The house of Mestres has a distinct style. They are charismatic with an oxidized flavor and a touch of oak. The Visol has aromas of dried fruits, brioche and roasted nuts.
5. Martinez Rose (by Rimats Cava). Last year when we visited Rimarts, they had already sold out of their special edition Rose, Martinez. This year, we were well on time to taste the new harvest. The Martinez is also a blend of Garnacha and Pinot Noir. The color is absolutely stunning, light ruby pink. It is a young cava with extreme freshness and clean taste. It is very seldom that a Rose is made as a Brut Nature (no dosage). I am not sure if I would pick it as a rose if I were blind tasting (in dark glasses).
Bonus: Pere Mata Brut Nature Gran Reserva. When tasting this cava, both myself and M were amazed. The taste was fresh with white fruits, burned butter and brioche, and the mouthfeel was creamy. We had tasted quite many cavas during the week with nice aromas enticed by long aging, but this one stood out as very clean. The real surprise came when we heard that this cava was made with no Chardonnay. It is seldom that the cava trio produces such deep toasty notes.
There! Some cavas to put on the shopping list. The more I learn about cava, the more I am convinced that it has a bright future as a premium choice for bubbly.
Greetings from Barcelona! It is the day after Cavatast; the sun is shining and people are out and about. We have just come back from a lovely cava-brunch at the Mandarin Oriental (as if there was not enough cava yesterday). Now a few hours of rest and we will head out for dinner. Eating, drinking and walking around; that is what our (working) holidays are made of. Especially in Barcelona, it is just great to walk around and pop into whatever café or bar that looks nice. There is an abundance of new places to visit.
But enough with the chit chat. I am sure you are most interested in reading more about Cavatast. In general I have to say the day was good. We visited the stands of many new and exciting producers as well as mingled with a cava-loving crowd. Everyone was in a festive mood clinking glasses and sipping ice cold cava. A group of swedes even bursted into song in the middle of the street giving a good show the surrounding crowd. In the small town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, cava brings both locals and tourists close together. You don’t even need to speak the same language, a small nod and a raise of your glass is enough.
Having experienced the festival last year, we knew roughly how many producers and cavas we could seriously try out before getting too tired (and drunk). To be honest, it is not that many. The tongue also gets numb after too much bubbly. We made it up to ten producers and around twenty cavas; after which we felt that it was time to start heading back to Barcelona. We visited: Berta, Mestres “vins de cava”, Jaume Giro I Giro, Fonpinet, Llopart, Juve y Camps, Oliver Viticultros, Muscandia, Eudald Massana Noya and Alsina Sarda. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was Juve y Camps, that we have labelled as one of these major houses (with mass production and a lot of sugar added to the cava). We had a chance to meet some people from the company as well as have a taste of their range. Their new product, a 100% Xarello cava was perhaps the best of the whole day. You might recall, I have been writing about my interest in Xarello before (post here); I am definitely a fan of the local grape variety. Other positive experiences were at Mestres (their Visol 2007), Muscandia (the Rose and Gran Reserva) and Oliver Viticultros (Barrica). We are also hoping to be able to go and visit Jaume Giro i Giro next week as they had some very impressive Gran Reservas in their range.
We also visited the Cavatast boutique. Amazing selection and prices. We were able to contain ourselves and bought only seven bottles. Some cavas were so cheap, that we just bought a bottle based on the description. Fonpinets Gran Reserva (aged 48months) was less than 5€ a pop. I can invest a fiver into trying something new, and even better if it is good. At least based on our taster of their ecological Brut Nature, they know what they are doing.
Food this year was also better: meat cones, cakes and pastries as well as some better quality tapas. A local chocolatier also had a stand celebrating the towns trademark bubbly with some chocolate bottles and other small snacks. I am actually hoping for the festival to take a more gastronomical direction.
That was it for this weeks recap. The coming week we will be going back to Sant Sadurni for a few days. We will be visiting Torello, Rimarts as well as Peret Fuster. Hopefully also some other new acquaintances if we are able to set up meeting at this short of a notice. I think in Spain they are pretty relaxed and flexible and have no problem doing stuff at a moments notice (if they feel like it). Now to get ready for dinner and some more wine. Have a great week you all!